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Windows of heaven

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The phrase "Windows of Heaven" (or the "Floodgates of the Heavens," as in the NIV) is used a few times, depending on the translation, in the Bible. The phrase is of primary interest to creation science for its associated with the rain that fell during the Genesis Flood.

Biblical Interpretation of the Phrase

"In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights."Genesis 7:11-12
"The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;"Genesis 8:2
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."Malachi 3:10

In the first two instances the phrase, "the windows of heaven" is associated with the rain used to produce the Flood, in the third it deals with God's blessing. Scoffers often use these references to claim that the Bible is teaching an ancient view that rain came from holes in the sky, but the phrase is never used to refer to ordinary rain.

In all it is a reference to a special direct action of God. This is supported by a similar phrase in 2 Kings 7.

"Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof."2_Kings 7:2
"And that lord answered the man of God, and said, Now, behold, if the LORD should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof."2_Kings 7:19

In this case the, "windows of heaven" is also a reference to a supernatural act of God, and not ordinary rain. As in Malachi 3 it probably does not even refer to rain at all but is repeated a second time to identify the man who said it.

Since we look through the Earth's atmosphere to see the planets and stars, it can be considered "windows of heaven," and the opening of this window could be a reference to the the Fountains of the great deep erupting with such force that it literally punches a whole through the atmosphere.

However, since both times where the windows of heaven are referred to outside the context of the Flood, it is used to refer to a supernatural act of God. The reference in connection to the Flood may be referring to God supernaturally supplying excess water. Such an act of God could include the literal opening of holes in space to which God sent additional water to Earth. Having said that, there is no indication of rain or wind before the Flood, so it could be God simply making it rain for the first time through some way.

Regardless of which is correct, it is clear the reference to the "windows of heaven," is not a reference to an ordinary source of rain, but clearly something unusual and quite possibly supernatural.

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